THE Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) have insisted that the Federal Government must listen to the voices of Nigerians on restructuring because the country is not operating a military government.
Seye Oyeleye, the DAWN Director-General said this on Tuesday in response to a statement by Garba Shehu, the Spokesperson to Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari over recent calls for restructuring in Nigeria.
“The clamour for restructuring should not be seen as threatening or intimidating the government,” Oyeleye said.
“For Shehu Garba to come out to say that the government cannot be intimidated is a very unfortunate statement. A government in a democracy should be listening. This is not a military government.”
He added that if the people were clamouring for a particular thing, it was the duty of government to listen and find out if what they were clamouring for was right or wrong.
According to him, the government should have listening ears.
“The whole country is saying that we need to restructure for us to survive as a country. Why is the clamour for restructuring becoming louder? Olaleye said.
“What is this government doing that is necessitating the clamour? That is what this government should sit down and do. They should not see it as being indicated or threatened.”
In the same vein, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that it was wrong for the government to not to listen to Nigerians.
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the NEF spokesperson said on Tuesday when he featured on Channels Television Programme, Sunrise Daily that Nigerians should not relent on the call for restructuring.
“Nigerians have a right to ask for changes, for amendment, for improvement in the manner in which we live. There is nothing wrong in that,” Baba-Ahmed said.
“What is wrong is for the government to specifically say we don’t want to hear anything about restructuring.”
He stated that the two basic functions of the state are to secure citizens and provide for their welfare.
“Now, the Nigerian state is failing on both camps. So, restructuring for us means addressing those failures and identifying ideas, suggestions and changes that can actually fit into the process of improving them,” he said.
“Policing is a fundamental issue. Here in the north where I come from, you could spend three days with bandits ravaging communities and you will not see a single policeman.”
“Something is wrong with the way the country is structured to provide security for citizens. So, we need to revisit some of these issues.”
The ICIR had reported that the Presidency in response to the calls had earlier said the President would not be threatened with the call for restructuring by Nigerians.
“This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the COVID-19 health crisis,” Garba Shehu had said.
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